CMJ Day 4: Vivian Girls | Crystal Antlers | Place To Bury Strangers

After seeing Kirsten earlier in the day I decide to continue the noise rock of the day by closing things off at the late show at Bowery. Unfortunately I just missed Marnie Stern who I wanted to check out. Taking under 10 minutes to set up, the Vivian Girls shyly took the stage to play their lo-fi surf punk noise. I’ve developed a huge crush on Cassie and her spaced out demeanor. She even retorted that she wanted to marry me after I yelled at her during their set. Enjoyable set.

Crystal Antlers is a band you need to see live to fully appreciate them. The sonic spectrum these guys from long beach is impressive. Blending psych, lo-fi, prog and punk into a an energetic set of future music. There was complete chaos on stage but somehow they pulled off an entertaining show with promise of good things to come from them.

Brooklyn’s A Place to Bury Strangers combine classic rock with dark metal to create heavy atmospheres of sound. Although mostly guitar driven their experimental approach to distorted sound adds a heavier and evil slant but never going to far into hell. The best show I’ve seen these guys play thusfar and wanted to just curl up in their reverb finale. A perfect end to CMJ, now it’s time to sleep.

Pictures from the show

CMJ Day 4: Kirsten Ketsjer @ Cake Shop

Until I got floated a new mp3, I didn’t know anything about this trio from Copenhagen. That song led me to some more live recordings online and I got immediately hooked. The band is very raw and delivers some of the most exciting stuff I’ve heard in awhile. They conjure up the sounds off Sonic Youth with some death metal married with unpredictable sonic structures. I stumbled out of my sleepy hangover to catch them for free during the day and was totally impressed. With just 3 onstage they completely filled the space with such incredible sound. The highlight of CMJ for me.

Pictures from the show.

video from an earlier Cake Shop show.

CMJ Day 3: The Hosts | Eugene Francis Jr. & The Juniors | The Muslims | Frances | Pela

I was very apprehensive about going to the Studio again but I was hoping that the early shows would be better organized. Tonight was their “British Invasion” and The Hosts from Sheffield started things off and played predictabe decent british pop.

Up next was Eugene Jr. & The Juniors from Wales and they brought a full band to play their highly addicting folktronica. They play enchanting pop music with lots of musical textures that you may not notice because you are singing along. Awesome set.

I quickly ran over to Mercury Lounge to check out The Muslims from San Diego. These guys played very fast surf rock punk. Their songs were so energetic that they crammed a 40 minute set into 20 and wasn’t sure if that was on purpose or thats their style. Needless to say  the crowd wanted more and I hope they swing around again.

Frances is from Brooklyn with lots of unique instruments and sounds. They play easy to listen songs but nothing to get excited about.

As soon as Pela took the stage and exploded into their set, the crowd woke up from their long night of bands. These guys just plain rock with their pounding drums and driving guitar sounds. The songs are more intense live and although not all their songs are great, the ones that work really work. I enjoy their take on rock-punk and they are definitely exploring new ways to push their sound. A must see live band.

Pictures from the show
better pictures of the Pela set

CMJ Day 2: Jealous Girlfriends | Miles Benjamin Anthony Johnson | Death Vessel

I really liked the small venue carved out inside Webster Hall called The Studio. The sound was pretty good and the space was intimate and well laid out. Got halfway into their showcase tonight and caught The Jealous Girlfriends from Brooklyn. They played a more guitar-driven set live than what’s on record and I enjoyed their vibrant and lush sound. The lead singer sent the set from shoe-gaze pop to grunged out rock songs. I’d see them again.

I was unhappy to have to endure another set from Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson but maybe the band would redeem themselves. Unfortunately he sounded even worse even after taking way too long to set up and ultimately going over his set time. They also did a pretty good job thinning out the crowd waiting to see the next band.

I was very happy to see the full band from Death Vessel set up to close out the night. He’s put out one of the better albums of the year and anxiously waited to see him all night. However because of the late and craptastic set from MBAR they were kicked off the stage after only 2 songs because of the stupid Vice after party. The crowd and I couldn’t believe it. Shitty venue management.

CMJ Day 1: Miles Benjamin Anthony Johnson | Friendly Fires | Lykke Li

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is a 24-year-old Brooklyn-via-Oregon singer-songwriter that played songs tonight that frequently started of sounding like cover songs. His songs eventually got mangled with jerky melodies and undiscernable vocals. I couldn’t handle his set and left to play guitar hero downstairs and passed someone in the audience singing “Jesse’s Girl” along to the music. ha.

The enthusiasm the exhibited on stage by the Friendly Fires was infectious and soon enough the crowd danced to their electro guitar pop songs. The lead singer never stopped gyrating and kept the energy up for the entire night. If you sped up Fujiya & Miyagi and made them more fun you’d get this band.

I fell in love with Lykke Li’s new album and her sultry dance moves seen on her videos. The band played her songs flawlessly including a stripped down version of “I’m Good, I’m Gone”. Her voice translated very well live and she apologized that she didn’t have any more songs to play so she did covers by Vampire Weekend and Tribe Called Quest. She did not disappoint and a great start to CMJ.

Pictures from the show.

CMJ 2008

It’s back. Although I was not overwhelmed with the choice of shows a few weeks ago, they’ve added a whole bunch I got my on. My short short list is here. But the full CMJ lineup here:

Go out and rock!